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One weekend stands between me and my last dose of Chemo. I’m so happy this portion of the journey will be over. Let me get technical for a minute so you know where I stand:
I’m near completion of what they call Neoadjuvant Dose Dense Chemotherapy. For those following: Neoadjuvant = before surgery. My first Chemo drug was Adriamycin and Cytoxan, which are two Chemo drugs often given together and also referred to as AC. I had 4 cycles of that every fourteen days. On my Mondays “off” of Chemo, I went in for blood tests, aka my “nadir” appointments, where they test my blood (white blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin, hematocrit-to name a few) and we talk about nausea, my appetite and whether or not my bowels are moving-it’s really thrilling! Following the AC I started 4 cycles of Taxol with the same nadir appointments.

I have been busy throughout this time meeting with my next rounds of doctors-the Radiation Oncologist and the Plastic Surgeon (bring on the B’s!!) and therapists for everyone (you get a therapist and you get a therapist and you get a therapist!). I also see my bio-energy healer and have bi-weekly oncological massages. With all of this I have also been trying to make plans for my family so we don’t lose our minds, but timelines are fleeting and there is so much waiting and even though I’m at the end of my rope Chemo treatments I do not feel the sigh of relief I was hoping for.

The next big thing on the agenda is the CT Scan. This scan will take images of my body to determine if the cancer is anywhere else in there. Remember that pesky little liver spot? The one I believe is gone? It’s that-that’s what they are looking for. And of course, because I guess doctors aren’t allowed to be too optimistic, they will look and see if the cancer has spread anywhere else. Bullshit. Of course it hasn’t, right? I keep telling them I’m fine schedule the scan so I can show you and they keep telling me to wait and that they will do it 2 weeks after the last treatment. And they won’t schedule the surgery until they see the scan….

I have not even thrown a temper tantrum about that even though sometimes I think maybe I should have because they aren’t listening to my words. I was recently talking with a friend about this strategy we all have as grownups to try and talk to other grownups about hard things in a really mature and measured ways because that is the “best way to communicate your needs”. But sometimes people can’t hear you. Surprisingly, sometimes my kids ignore me too (shocking!). So I wonder if when you are trying to communicate, like an adult, and the other adult isn’t hearing you if they are really acting like children and the only way to communicate with them is to act like a child yourself. In other words, I wonder if sometimes you just need to throw the tantrum?

Anyway they still haven’t scheduled my scan, but I have convinced them not to let surgery interfere with my children’s February break because that would be horrible for them! So I went ahead and scheduled a trip to California for break, which is basically like having an adult temper tantrum, I guess…

Watch out San Francisco, here come the Van Duyn’s


photo courtesy of